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RAW, the GLAAD Revolt, and More
September 16, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


One week's worth of shows left before the next big PPV...  and just one week's worth of columns left before the same.  So let's cut the crap and get this party started:
  • Tonight's RAW has got some serious work to do.  Not only did last week's show tank in the ratings, but those who did tune in seemed generally displeased with the way the show-defining "Hot Lesbian Action" was presented.
    Also, as it stands, RAW's only got one match locked in for Sunday's PPV.
    So what do we look for tonight?  Well, obviously, that one match (HHH vs. RVD) will continue to be built up.  HHH seemed upset that Van Dam was the guy who emerged victorious, almost as though he considered him the biggest threat to his half of the Disputed Title.  If that's the case, one way to play things tonight would be to have Van Dam once again run through an opponent, giving HHH further reason to be worried about this Sunday.
    However, if I may be allowed to don my Fantasy Booking Cap, I might propose an alternate scenario:  have Van Dam defend the IC Title tonight.  I feel quite strongly that Chris Jericho would make the best opponent for this situation.  And then, have Triple H cost Van Dam the match and the title.  It's an effective way of building more heat between HHH and Van Dam, and on top of that, I think it would have the highly desirable ancillary effect of making more fans believe RVD could actually win the big strap this Sunday...  let's face it, few fans are gonna buy into his chances of becoming the first unified World and IC Champ since the Ultimate Warrior.  But if he dropped the IC belt first?  Well, then we might get fired up to see Van Dam have his breakthrough performance at the PPV.
    Then again, if the real backstage booking plan does not involve even considering a PPV win for RVD, then maybe you just keep the IC Title where it is, and book purely by the numbers tonight (some kind of promo, and then slap them against each other in some kind of tag match, maybe?).
    In addition to that match, it seemed like the RAW brand was ready to supply the PPV with a big UnAmericans vs. Booker/Goldust/Kane/Bradshaw feud.  But now that Bradshaw's out with an injury, things are gonna have to be shaken up.  Perhaps we recycle the Booker/Goldust vs. Storm/Christian feud for the tag belts?  Or could someone be plugged into the babyface slot left by Bradshaw?  It was suggested to me that having Faarooq jump to RAW and fill in would work perfectly from a few different perspectives (one, he's doing nothing on SD; two, coming to the aid of his old partner makes a ton of sense; and three, whenever Bradshaw comes back, they can get back to working as a team, since neither's accomplished anything as a singles wrestler).  Or might Chris Nowinski be ready to work as a babyface?  The combination of opposing his former mentor, William Regal, and finally deflowering Molly Holly might have the effect of making him a rather popular lad!
    Beyond that, there's nothing even remotely looking ready for PPV, so like I said:  there's a lot of work to do.  The talent's there, RAW's creative team just needs to give the roster good, engrossing material to work with.  Guys like Bubba Dudley and Kane are just too good to be spinning their wheels, and if you pick the right women in the right kinds of matches (i.e. Stacy/Terri in matches where partial nudity is a selling point, but Trish/Molly in ones where we might see some recognizable WRESTLING moves) then there's a ton of untapped potential there, too.
    Obviously, there is one other matter:  Eric Bischoff totally sabotaged last week's SmackDown!, and we don't know how the Fed is going to proceed with the inter-brand war.  Does Bischoff just get to gloat tonight?  Does Steph have something huge planned to interrupt RAW?  Are we going to just use this to build up to an Island Boyz vs. Billy/Chuck match?  I don't have answers at this point, other than to tell you to expect a heavy emphasis on last week's Commitment Ceremony, and on what should be a reasonably "shocking" next step in the Bischoff/Steph war.
    Oh, and if you didn't catch Heat -- or the Cubs Fans Heat Recap -- then you missed out on a potentially disturbing bit of dialogue between the Coach and D'Lo.  Apparently, if you didn't like HLA, then "there's something wrong with you," hinting that more may be on the way.  I always get a nervous feeling whenever the Fed starts telling us what we should and shouldn't like...  and hey guys, didn't you get the memo?  Even Jim Ross had his reservations about the HLA nonsense.  And said so publicly. 
    Check out RAW tonight to see how/if the show can rebound leading up to the PPV... or come on back tomorrow for CRZ's RAW Recap.
  • BTW, another sign that the Fed isn't done with the HLA: they are doing a bit of marketing research, trying to determine which of two HLA t-shirt designs to run with.  You can vote here.  I hate to admit it, but for as silly as the entire concept is, the first t-shirt design is actually laugh-out-loud hilarious.
    As I alluded to above, Jim Ross' latest WWE.com column included some fairly blunt comments about the creative decisions being made as RAW tries to rebound in the ratings.  JR admits to sometimes feeling like the business has passed him by, but does say that in the end, regardless of whether they are old school or new school, everybody in the company is working hard for the same goal:  to craft a product that fans come out, en masse, to watch.
    Of note: JR mentioned that he's no longer in the Fed's prime target demographic, which he says is 18-34.  I thought that was odd for two reasons.  One, because watching this show some weeks I would never have guessed that I still have a good 6-7 years left before I'm supposed to start finding the product juvenile.  And two, because something like the HLA stuff on RAW (which was fairly obviously what set JR off on his mini-rant) seems to me to be geared to an entirely different demo: the 11-13 year olds who don't have older brothers to supply them with porn demo.  Oh, and the 50-something year-old announcer who's apparently not getting laid demo, too.
    While I'm thinking of it, here are the other news-worthy items from JR's column:  Bradshaw had his biceps surgery Tuesday afternoon, and will be out of action for four to six months...  Sean O'Haire (torn stomach muscle) is still about six weeks away from getting back into the ring...  Jazz will be medically cleared to return to the ring in a few weeks (following ACL surgery)...  Rhyno has begun light in-ring work-outs, and is still on target to be 100% in November...  Kurt's brother, Eric Angle, is back to training after his biceps injury (JR notes that Eric's having to basically start from scratch and that wrestling isn't coming as naturally to him as it did for Kurt)...  high praise for SD! continued solid product, and especially for the commitment ceremony last week (which was apparently all put together in just one day)...  there have been no new developments on either the Scott Steiner or Bill Goldberg fronts, though JR notes that if the creative team had the right idea, then they might be brought in the next week, all of a sudden...
    I figure I'll leave it to you conspiracy theorist types to chew on that last one for a bit...
  • GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) was praising the WWE just one week ago.  Now, they are ultra-pissed.
    The group, which originally praised WWE for booking the same sex marriage storyline, has now gone public with their outrage that said storyline did not end with two men getting hitched.  Their claim is that WWE "promised" them months ago that Billy and Chuck would actually get married, and now that the two instead revealed they are straight and did not go through with the wedding, GLAAD feels deceived.
    I predicted this exact problem last week... but it doesn't make it any easier to accept.  Fact is, all this was was a storyline, and an effective one at that.  It's entertainment, ultimately devoid of any real deep meaning.  GLAAD was no doubt over-reacting when they got all happy about the thought of a gay wedding in wrestling.  Now, they are just as obviously over-reacting to the swerve in storylines. 
    GLAAD should probably keep working hard to make sure real gay people are treated decently, and quit worrying about whether or not two straight performers act out a gay wedding on TV.  To me, that'd be the smarter place to expend one's energies.
    Also jumping on the bandwagon [drum roll please]:  Phil Mushnick.  Apparently, he saw "vulgar, hateful mocking" in the commitment ceremony angle.  I've been in a self-imposed Mushnick Black-out for a while, but it's nice to see he still hasn't regained contact with Planet Earth. Still as clueless as ever. 
  • Following up on something that I mentioned in "rumor mode" last week:  it turns out that NWA-TNA has, in fact, secured the services of Sean Waltman.  He'll begin with the group starting this Wednesday night, and just as we theorized, he'll be working as a tag team with Scott Hall.  The two will be part of the gauntlet-style match to fill the vacant TNA tag titles.
    Given some of Waltman's antics during his final WWE days, one has to hope somebody at TNA had the foresight to make sure that Sean knows to be ready to work two weeks worth of matches in one night....
    We'll do some more preview of TNA's return to PPV in Wednesday's column.
  • The final rating for last week's SmackDown! was a 3.7.  That's up a full half-point from the previous week, so obviously, there was a bump courtesy of the gay wedding angle.
    I'd have to go back and look, but this also might make for the largest margin of victory for SmackDown! over RAW in the ratings.  Last week's RAW did a 3.4 cable rating, which translates into roughly a 2.7 or 2.8 broadcast rating.  I can't remember a week in which SD! could claim to top RAW by almost a full ratings point...

  • Vince McMahon was once again a part of Forbes Magazine's list of the 400 Richest People in the World.  For 2002, Vince's net worth is listed as $570 million, good enough for #386.
    For reference, however, note that in 2000, Vince was worth $1.1 billion, and placed at #260.
    Thanks to OO Reader Pete Henderson for passing along the figures.
  • OO Reader The GR81 thinks Eddie Guerrero might have gotten away with something on Thursday night...  apparently, his tirade to Chavo -- which was laced with some Spanish slang -- included the word "chinga," which The GR81 says is the equivalent of "fuck."  Naughty, naughty...
    I don't know if that's true or not (if Eddie was from Berlin and was ranting in GermEnglish, that's when my high school German might be of assistance), but it does allow me to to wonder (in a hopefully humorous fashion) what the SportsLine-approved PG-rated substitute for "chinga" would have been?  "Chrunga," perhaps?
  • I think that's about all from me today.  That leaves me with my usual closing request for Mondays:  folks attending TV tapings ought to try and pass along a report so that we can get Heat, Velocity, and SmackDown! spoilers disseminated as quickly as possible.
    See y'all again on Wednesday....


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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